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Your Carbon Footprint Isn't Small Just Because You Take the Subway

Think living in a city is better for the environment than country living? Think again.

A lot of urbanites, including me, often brag about how much more environmentally sound their lifestyles are than people who commute to work every day and live in huge, one-family houses. Turns out we can jump right off our high horses. A new, more complex analysis suggests that CO2 emissions are dependent upon how much goods and services people consume, not where they live. The study pins the carbon footprint on the person who purchases that television, not the manufacturer that is responding to consumer demand.


Basically it comes down to income. If you're wealthy, you take more plane rides, hail more cabs and simply buy more stuff. Across the board, private transportation produces more carbon than public transportation, but a rural dweller's car trips may be canceled out by a life with fewer possessions. Studies like these remind us that our use of carbon means more than whether or not we get behind the wheel or have a McMansion. Every swipe of our credit card traces us back to the energy used to produce our purchases, and that deserves just as much of our attention.

photo (cc) by Flickr user subnet24

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Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

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Between 2016 and 2017, cancer death rates fell by 2.2%. While cancer death rates have been steadily falling over the past three decades, it's normally by 1.5% a year. Cancer death rates have dropped by 29% since 1991, which means that there have been 2.9 million fewer cancer deaths in the past three decades than there would have been if the mortality rate had remained constant.

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In order to celebrate the New York Public Library's 125th anniversary, the library announced a list of the top 10 most checked out books in the library's history. The list, which took six months to compile, was determined by a team of experts who looked at the "historic checkout and circulation data" for all formats of the book. Ezra Jack Keats's "The Snow Day" tops the list, having been checked out 485,583 times through June 2019. While many children's books topped the top 10 list, the number one choice is significant because the main character of the story is black. "It's even more amazing that the top-ranked book is a book that has that element of diversity," New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx said.

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